Travel agent biz perks up, looks ahead

Publishing a new report this week at Cruise Three Sixty,  the official travel agency conference of the cruise line industry, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) called for a travel-industry dialogue aimed at elevating the role of the travel agent. In “From Travel Agent to ‘Travel Advisor’: Defining, Elevating and Promoting the Role of Travel Agents for the Next Generation,” the report identifies some of the key issues that the profession must address to continue to be successful in 2012 and beyond.

“Our aim in outlining this case is to begin a meaningful, industry-wide dialogue that articulates the unique role agents play in today’s travel industry and considers the steps necessary to develop a strategic road map for developing the next generation of travel agents,” said Christine Duffy, CLIA president and CEO.

The report begins by noting that travel agency sales account for one-third of all travel sold and that U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecast a 10 percent increase in growth of the travel agent workforce, which is on par with average predicted overall U.S. job growth.

The report calls attention to the long history of and evolving value proposition of travel agents over the decades, and it poses questions to the agents and the broader travel industry as to how the agent profession can adapt to the changing environment and thrive. The report aims to stimulate ideas and coalesce industry support around the concept of a unified effort to better position travel agents for future success, and to shift the conversation about agents from one of survival to growth.

“The evolution of the travel agency industry will have a direct and powerful impact on the U.S. and global travel and tourism industry in the coming years,” said Tony Gonchar, CEO of the American Society of Travel Agents and major contributors to CLIA’s report. “CLIA’s report is an excellent first step to help begin a dialogue with the travel industry to ensure the future growth of the travel agency community and the whole of the travel industry.”

 

 

Chris Owen is a travel writer from Orlando Florida charged with sharing frank, inside information on cruise vacations with travelers. Certified a Master Cruise Counselor by the Cruise Lines International Association, Chris can be found via the popular travel blog, ChrisCruises.net and on the long-running cruise information website, YourCruiseDream.com

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